Mr Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, suggesting instead that Boris Johnson should have said the check “was in the mail”. He said: “We have weakened our negotiating position.” We should have said the check was in the mail.
“Throughout Brexit, the EU has enjoyed all the advantages of playing the youngster and we accept all the disadvantages of playing the gentleman.”
Meanwhile, Nigel Farage has accused the government of abject surrender, warning that “weakness never works” with Brussels.
The European Commission sent the government the last minute bill of £ 1.09 billion on Brexit day, a move seen by many pro-Brexit activists as a blatant shakedown.
However, it was revealed today that the full amount had been paid this summer after trade deal negotiations began in March, clearing a major hurdle for a deal before the end of the year.
Equally scathing was Mr Farage, whose Brexit party has now been renamed the Reform Party.
He told the Telegraph: “Why has the government given up on a major bargaining chip?
READ MORE: End of the EU? Poland no longer trusts Brussels’ ‘impartiality’
The bloc had argued that the UK owed additional cash on top of the regular 2019/20 contribution of £ 9bn due to an increase in gross national income and VAT contributions.
Britain remains committed to paying its contributions to the EU budget until the end of the year, which also marks the end of the bloc’s seven-year budget cycle, as agreed when the then prime minister , Theresa May, triggered Section 50 on March 29, 2017.
The UK had agreed to pay a ‘divorce bill’ totaling £ 39bn under the Withdrawal Agreement, regardless of whether or not a trade deal was struck by negotiators Lord David Frost and Michel Barnier – although that figure was reduced by budget payments made after the process was delayed from March 29, 2019 until the end of last year.
A government spokesperson said Britain would receive around £ 500million, under the rebate scheme negotiated by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
They added: “We paid our share in June in accordance with our Withdrawal Agreement obligations and we expect half of the money to be refunded through the remittance this month.
“The fact that the EU has charged us a hefty sum is just one of the reasons the public voted to leave the EU and take back control of UK money.”
Mr Barnier and Lord Frost participated in an intensified negotiation process with the aim of reaching an agreement that can be ratified by the end of the year.
However, the process suffered a setback on Friday after one of the European Union’s negotiators working on a post-Brexit trade deal tested positive for the coronavirus, leading to a suspension of face-to-face discussions.
Mr Barnier tweeted: “With David Frost we have decided to suspend negotiations at our level for a short period. The teams will continue their work in full compliance with the guidelines.”
Lord Frost added: “I am in close contact with Michel Barnier on the situation.
“The health of our teams comes first. I would like to thank the European Commission for its immediate help and support.”
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